A forced career change can upset the balance of your life with new stressors and changes. Whether it comes as the result of a lay-off, a falling-out with your boss, the relocation of your company, a change in your health status, or any other reason, the fact is that this period of transition can really mess with your sense of self.
Some things you’re probably stressing about:
- Updating your resume and starting a new job search
- Networking with the right people
- Having enough marketable skills or being "too old" to go elsewhere
- Cutting your household and entertainment budget, possibly including selling your car or home
- Loss of health insurance or an increased premium
- Taking money out of your 401k or rainy day fund
The list can seem insurmountable and can trigger situational depression that you weren't expecting. (And yes, there’s a difference between situational and clinical depression – unlike clinical depression, situational depression is a short-term form of depression that comes from any number of experiences and sudden life changes. It's often referred to as "adjustment disorder".)
Some things you can do to help during this transitory period:
- Focus on staying positive and relaxed. Don’t dwell on the past.
- Enjoy your time off, but be smart with your finances
- Realize you have an opportunity to focus on your loved ones during this time too.
- Learn some new tricks, but be careful not to go for that new degree without thinking about how, specifically, it will create new income potential for you.
- Be sure you're up to date on new technology.
- Find a counselor that can help you through this tough transition.
- Uplift yourself with success stories from others who've gone through the same thing you’re going through – stay away from negative stories.
The stress that comes from dealing with a forced career change can take on a life of its own, but to paraphrase an old adage: no one says you have to eat an elephant in one bite. Take on this new transition one bite at a time, one step at a time, one day at a time. Get help from a therapist and surround yourself with those who love and uplift you.